Ireland, Rick Steves, Mary Morris discussed on Travel with Rick Steves

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Your first time, give yourself that wonderful 360° exploratory loop. Pad O'Connor co authors the Rick Steves Ireland guidebook, and he's one of the sharpest experts on traveling in Ireland that I know. He's with us on travel with Rick Steves to help you know what to anticipate when driving a rental car in Ireland. On the left side of the road, in The Rain. Super narrow roads. I mean, with hedges on both sides and in every couple hundred yards, you've got to turn out. How do you handle that? So whoever is closest to the turnout if there's oncoming traffic, and some of these are little one lane little roads that are fantastic to be on as far as where they get you, but you need to be courteous, you pull over at the wide spot in the road if you're closest to it and let them get by you. Pat O'Connor, I'm so thankful that you've been able to work so hard for 20 years and share all of your experience in the Rick Steves Ireland guidebook. You know, I just want to close with some magic that makes you so glad you dealt with getting used to driving Irish. I'll never forget once when I was in dingle. I've always done the wonderful dingle Peninsula during the day like a good tourist lacing together all the shots and it's crowded everybody's out. But then one year I did it after dinner and it's late until late in Ireland and I finished dinner at 7 and I had three hours of light and it was a whole different atmosphere. It was magical. And I was thankful I had a car to have that mobility. You bet. What's a magic moment? A thankful moment that you've had in Ireland that we could just wrap it up here to inspire people when they go to Ireland to don't be shy about getting a rental car. I'll tell you a quick human story. I actually tried to turn around on an Irish road that was a one lane road there was nobody around the first year that I had a rental car and I high centered the car in the ditch, and I'm blocking the road, and here comes a tractor, and this Irish guy gets out of his tractor, pulls out his chains, couldn't be more friendly and jovial about it. Just a connection that I didn't expect, and I was on my way again 15 minutes later. So you're going to have some trials and tribulations but roll with it. Pet O'Connor, thanks so much, and I think what I'll be a little more confident and smart when it comes to exploring Ireland in our rental car. Great, great. Thanks. Tour guides from Prague have practical advice for visiting their city, where old world charm survived the wars of the 20th century and even the crush of tourists before the pandemic. But first, writer Mary Morris shares how she's enjoyed exploring faraway places on her own over the years. When Mary Morris wrote the book nothing to declare memoirs of a woman traveling alone, she joined the proud ranks of what at the time were a small number of female travel writers in a field long considered demands domain. Since it was first published back in 1988, that book's been recognized as a classic title of travel, describing her risk-taking solo adventure across Latin America and confronting the realities of place of poverty and machismo. Her newest book all the way to the tigers also recounts a solo trip. This time on a Tiger safari in the heart of India. Mary joins us now to talk about the joys and the challenges of traveling alone as a woman and what's changed in the span between those two books. Mary, thanks for being here. Thank you for having me, Rick. I appreciate it. Yeah, no, your book, nothing to declare. It's just filled with great travel moments as you celebrate solo travel as a woman and it's based on travels in Latin America. Can you share with us one vivid moment out of that adventure that kind of illustrates your message? Yes, absolutely. So I moved to San Miguel de Allende in 1978, I had moved into this apartment. I didn't really know where I was living. It was a very solitary. I woke up at four in the morning to a rooster on my balcony, growing its head off. I looked out and there was a woman waving at me and it was her rooster and she came into the house. Her name, she introduced herself as lupe. She grabbed her rooster by its feet, got feathers all over the house. And as she was leaving with her rooster upside down, she said, he's just like all men, he's always on the prowl. And she became my very dear friend, lupe. So there you go. Welcome to welcome to her world. So you're a woman and it seems you like to travel solo. And people always ask me, because I wouldn't know, but you can answer it. Is it safe? What's your answer? It depends. Sometimes it's safe. Sometimes it's not safe. I mean, there are just things I wouldn't do. You know, they're mistakes that women can make on the road. I think you just need an exit strategy. I think every woman traveling needs an exit strategy. So for example, I would never stay out too late. I would never drink too much that I couldn't get home in a good way. That was very important to me. There was a very narrow alleyway leading back to my house where I lived in Mexico and I always looked very carefully to make sure there wasn't anyone coming towards me in that alleyway before I would go down it. Just I think you just have to be extra vigilant. Hypervigilant. Beyond the boss, I have an exit strategy. And the ball, right? Exit strategy. And you prefer to travel solo. One of the pros and cons of traveling solo, 'cause that's a big decision for a lot of people. Right. I mean, I think Paul threw, I think, said that the only real travel is solo travel. They're just experiences that I know I would never have had if I were traveling with a friend, a husband, a lover, another person. And so for me, when I want to have that visceral connection to the world, I need to go alone. And I've been married for 32 years to a man who understands that, which is a gift, but if I want to go on a vacation or I want to do something like that, well, then I'll drag someone along. But just me as a real traveler, connecting to the world, I need to do that alone. You know, you just hit something there. If you want to go on a vacation, sure, bring your partner, but if you want to have a travel experience that's differentiating between a vacation and a travel experience, you wrote nothing to declare back in the 80s and it's written all the way to the tigers. How has the world changed for women travelers since then? Is it better now or the challenge is still the same? In 30 years. It's such a good question. I mean, there are places that I was comfortable going to 30 years ago, like the Middle East and North Africa. That I wouldn't be so comfortable going to now alone. I mean, I would go, but not necessarily alone. I mean, look, I think Rick, the world's a more dangerous place. You know, between pandemic and terrorism and all kinds of stuff, it just feels more dangerous. And so you felt more comfortable in the 80s hanging out in a dusty little town in El Salvador or Mexico than you would today. I did. I was probably a little dumber then, too. I can imagine nothing being dumber, but there'd be a little more easygoing back in a simpler time. That's right. I mean, I think particularly in San Miguel, I mean, I think the differences of class and race are much more acute than when I was there. I found a more fluid acceptant kind of culture where I think now there's a lot of resentment and it's complicated. Obviously, by immigration and all kinds of things. And it's just a completely different place than when I lived there. This is travel with Rick Steves, works exploring what it means to travel solo while female with author Mary Morris, her books include nothing to declare memoirs of a woman traveling alone and all the way to the tigers. You can find more about Mary's work at Mary Morris dot net. Mary, when we travel, especially south of the border, we hear the word machismo. What is machismo and what shapes the macho man's view of the world? Well, I guess in our speak, it would be something like male entitlement, you know, the sense that it's a kind of toxic masculinity. I would say, you know, where you have to prove yourself, you have to prove your virile and you're strong and you're not going to take any garbage from anybody. I do think machismo is less of a, of a phenomenon than it was in the 80s when I was traveling. Just as in Italy, I think that the cat calling culture and that has, you know, I think there is, for example, in Italy, I feel much more respect for women than I felt in the 80s and I think that's also true in Mexico. And.

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